Two hundred years after his death at age 40, Edgar Allan Poe is being properly honored with the funeral he should have been given years ago. When the author died October 7, 1849, his cousin, Neilson Poe, neglected to tell anyone. As a result, just a handful of people showed up at Poe’s funeral in Baltimore, Maryland to pay tribute. That’s cold.
Tomorrow at two different times, amends are being made in Baltimore. It’s expected that 300 people will attend each of the TWO funerals being held Westminster Hall. The hall, which used to be church back in Poe’s day, is next to the cemetery where he is buried. From the description of the building’s Gothic architecture, it sounds like it would be a perfect setting for Poe’s funeral– even if Poe and his wife weren’t already buried next to it.
The two funerals, part of Baltimore’s Edgar Allan Poe Celebrating 200 Years offerings, are theatrical events where a mix of actors playing famous people who are dead– and people who are themselves–meaning they are still living, thus they can simply be themselves, will pay tribute to Poe’s life and work. Musical performances and readings are part of the mix.
To go to one of the funerals–either the one at 12:30 or at 4:30 p.m., you have to have a ticket. However, even without a ticket, there’s a way to be involved.
The public can attend the processional for the first service for free. For this part of the tribute to Poe, a police escort will help take Poe’s body (not the real one, it’s buried after all) from his house, now museum, at 23 Amity Street to Westminster Hall.
And in a style fitting to the occasion, the casket will be transported in an antique horse drawn hearse with the Loch Raven Pipes and Drums in accompaniment. According to the event’s description, this alone is certainly an interesting way to spend a bit of the morning.
The funeral, of course, is the plum. I’m sure that Poe will be able to rest in peace after tomorrow. Hopefully, he’ll get a chuckle or two as well. How could he not? Consider the following detail that is written on the Web site about the funeral’s speakers list.
” Please keep in mind that while these people have confirmed their attendance many of them are deceased and every effort will be made to ensure that they will attend the event.”
Sir Alfred Hitchcock, for example, is on the list, as is Sarah Helen Whitman, Poe’s former fiancée.
Of all the events I’ve read about lately, this is the one I’d love to be able to go the most. There’s something wonderfully weird about it which is right up Poe’s alley–and mine.
For information about getting tickets, click here. You can also buy a ticket at the door, but instead of $35, a sold at the door ticket costs $40.
As a note, children under 10 are not admitted.
To honor Poe after tomorrow, you can always visit his grave. After careful searching, the location where he was buried has been determined. Originally, the grave was unmarked due to a freight train mishap that damaged the original stone.